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An indepth report of the South Asian candidates from Elections 2016

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Kamala Harris (D), Ami Bera (D), Ro Khanna (D), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Pramila Jayapal (D)

Kamala Harris (D), Ami Bera (D), Ro Khanna (D), Raja Krishnamoorthi (D), Pramila Jayapal (D)

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — While another chapter in American history was written with the election of Donald Trump to president Tuesday, Indian American would-be and currently established politicians etched some more history of their own.

Kamala Harris 

Californians on Tuesday elected Kamala Harris as the state’s first new U.S. Senator in 24 years, she also became the first Indian American ever elected to the Senate with her victory.

Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez, who opted to use the underdog approach with her campaign. She attempted to rally the Latino vote for her cause, as well as California’s Republicans and moderates. However, her efforts required much more work given the nature of her underfunded campaign.

Harris, the first woman elected as California attorney general, will succeed Democrat Barbara Boxer, who is retiring after serving four terms in the U.S. Senate.

The daughter of immigrants from India and Jamaica, Harris becomes only the second black woman ever elected to the Senate.

Ami Bera

Rep. Ami Bera, who until last night was the lone Indian American serving in the House of Representatives, defeated Republican Scott Jones in his re-election bid. Bera will be joined by three other Indian Americans when he enters the chamber at the beginning of January’s new session.

Bera, now heading for his third term, narrowly defeated his opponent by capturing 51 percent of the vote. It marks the second consecutive occasion he’s fended off a Republican rival in the election, Bera previously defeated Republican Doug Ose in a close 2014 contest.

The Democrat successfully overcame the campaign finance scandal involving his father, Babulal. The elder Bera was recently sentenced to a prison term of one year for illegally funneling money into his son’s 2010 and 2012 Congressional campaigns.

Bera currently serves as the co-chair of the India Caucus, he also accompanied President Obama during a trip to India in 2015 and was one of the Congressmen who facilitated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to Congress this year.

Ro Khanna

Fremont attorney Ro Khanna, in his second battle with incumbent Mike Honda and in his third attempt at a congressional seat, has emerged victorious against the eight-term congressman.

Khanna jumped out to an early lead in the race almost immediately after the polls closed, early numbers showed him far out in front. Returns that came during the latter hours from Alameda and Santa Clara counties cemented the victory.

Critics believed Honda had his work cut out for him after Khanna captured the party’s nomination at their June state primary. The 75-year-old Honda has also been plagued by a House ethics investigation for more than a year, allegations of using taxpayer funds for campaign purposes have been levied against him.

The contest in California’s 17th Congressional District got even dirtier just days before Election Day — Mike Honda aired a TV ad portraying Khanna as a slimy Wall Street puppet. Khanna fired back his own ads, portraying Honda as tired and unethical.

When Khanna went up against Honda in 2014, more than 20 points divided the two in the primary, a gap that the challenger closed to less than 4 points by the general election.

Founder of Indiaspora, M.R. Rangaswami was elated as he spoke to Diya TV about the representation of Indian Americans in the House with Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna all emerging victorious.

“We are one percent of the population and now we are one percent of Congress!”, he said.

Raja Krishnamoorthi

Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi won the Illinois 8th Congressional District race against Republican Peter DiCianni. Krishnamoorthi and DiCianni were both trying to win the seat vacated by Tammy Duckworth, who won Illinois’ U.S. Senate seat Tuesday night.

The Illinois-based businessman received an endorsement from President Obama. “As the son of immigrants who worked their way into the middle-class, Raja understands both the challenges facing America’s working families and the opportunities their work make possible,” Obama said in his endorsement.

The 42-year-old was born in Delhi and grew up in Peoria, Illinois. He served as policy director of President Obama’s 2004 Senate campaign, as well as deputy treasurer of Illinois from 2007 through 2009. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination of Illinois State Comptroller, losing to David E. Miller by less than one percent of the vote.

Krishnamoorthi is the co-founder of InSPIRE, a non-profit organization that provides training to Illinois students and veterans in solar technology and was formerly Vice-Chairman of the Illinois Innovation Council, whose mission is to promote innovative technologies that support economic growth and job creation in Illinois.

“I am someone who believes very much in entrepreneurship and helping small businesses to grow because I believe that they are at the heart of economy,” he was quoted as saying earlier this year.

Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal defeated Brady Walkinshaw Tuesday in Washington’s 7th Congressional District.

By winning the seat occupied since 1988 by retiring U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott, Jayapal becomes the first Indian-American woman elected to Congress.

The 52-year-old state senator, whose campaign carried the endorsement of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, had 57 percent in Tuesday returns in the Seattle-area clash featuring two Democrats. Both candidates referenced the U.S. presidential contest Tuesday night. Jayapal said the result of her race means the 7th District can be “a light in the darkness” if Donald Trump emerged triumphant.

“If our worst fears are realized, we will be on the defense as of tomorrow,” she told supporters. “We will have to fight for social justice as never before.”

Walkinshaw said he and Jayapal share “a profound amount in common and as we look where our country may be headed, that’s where my concerns are,” after his defeat. Jayapal finished first among nine candidates in August’s top-two primary election with 42 percent. Walkinshaw, who would have been Washington’s first openly gay congressperson, narrowly finished second with 21 percent.

Tulsi Gabbard

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, although not South Asian American has had the support of this community due to her Hindu faith. She cruised to re-election Tuesday night, demolishing opponent Angela Kaaihue by more than 50 percent of the vote.

Gabbard, the lone Hindu American in the House of Representatives, finished the night by collecting 82 percent of the vote. Kaaihue received 19,000 votes, or 18 percent.

During her campaign, Kaaihue referred to Hawaii as a “Devil Democratic State,” adding that the island is condemned by a “local dumb mentality.”

“I am talking about God, preaching about God, restoring his kingdom back into Hawaii,” she said. “This is God’s country, America is God’s country. I am trying to educate people about that.”

Gabbard will now serve her third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jay Chaudhuri

North Carolina state senator Jay Chaudhuri cruised to a smooth victory over opponent Eric Weaver. With all precincts reporting, Democrat Chaudhuri held a 31-point lead over Weaver, capturing 65 percent of the vote. His Republican opponent received just 34 percent of the vote.

Chaudhuri, an attorney, was appointed in April to the seat that was vacated by Democratic Sen. Josh Stein, who resigned to run for the state’s attorney general position. Chaudhuri won the March Democratic primary in the state. When he accepted the position, Chaudhuri resigned as general counsel to North Carolina Treasurer Janet Cowell in May.

Originally born in Tennessee, Chaudhuri attended Davidson College, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs and the North Carolina Central University School of Law. In addition to his role for Cowell, he was also North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s special counsel and legislative counsel when Cooper was state Senate Majority Leader.

Here’s a complete list of all the victories and losses within of all South Asian American candidates.

CA – US Senate – Kamala Harris (D) wins 63% against Loretta Sanchez (D) 37%

CA17 – Ro Khanna (D) wins 59% against Mike Honda (D)  41%

CA7 – Ami Bera (D) wins 52% against Scott Jones (R) 48%

WA7 – Pramila Jayapal (D) wins 57% against Clint Didier (D) 42%

IL8 – Raja Krishnamoorthi (D) wins 58% against Pete Dicianni (R) 42%

NJ8 – Agha Khan (R) loses 19% against Albio Sries (D) 77%

GA7 – Rashid Malik (D) loses 40% against Rob Woodall (R) 61%

HI2 – Tulsi Gabbard (D) wins 81% against Angela Kaaihue (R) 19%

MI11 – Anil Kumar (D) loses 40% against Dave Trott (R) 53%

PA122 – Neil Makjija (D) loses 38.6% against Doyle Heffley (R) 59.5%

NC State Senate – Jay Chaudhuri (D) 57% wins against Eric Weaver (R) 43%

AD27 State Assembly Ash Kalra (D) wins 52.4% against Madison Nguyen 47.6%

AD42 State Assembly Rajiv Dalal (D) looses 3.04% against Laura Friedman (D) 31.89%

OH42 State House Niraj Antani (R) wins 63.2% against Pat Merris (D) 36.8%

CT31 Prasad Srinivasan (R) wins 65% against Matt Saunig (D) 32%

CT151 State Dita Bhargava (D) looses 40% againt Fred Camillo (R) 60%

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FTX’s Nishad Singh got $543 million loan

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Arvind Venkat & Tarik Khan win Pennsylvania State seats

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WASHINGTON D.C. (Diya TV) – Looking back at the midterm elections, Arvind Venkat and Tarik Khan made history as the first South Asian Americans elected to the Pennsylvania State Legislature. Advocacy group Indian American Impact played a major role on the ground, saying it trained and mobilized 200 volunteers to go door-to-door, to engage voters and provide info they needed to elect new leadership.

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Meet FTX insider Nishad Singh

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The controversy around failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX continues to captivate the world. Part of the scrutiny is now on the people involved, including Indian American Nishad Singh. According to new reports, this techie was part of FTX’s inner circle, which lived together and ran the cryptocurrency empire from the Bahamas. The software engineer was also reportedly aware that FTX secretly transferred customer funds worth billions of dollars to its sister firm Alameda Research. Currently, no one is facing any criminal charges. Diya TV featured Singh more than a decade ago for running ultra marathons as a 17 year old getting ready for college. 

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Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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